Clockwork by Dorian Maffei

She has clocks in her house all set to a different time.

At 4:07

she butters her toast.

At 10:03

she polishes the steel plates that hang on her walls.

By 7:04,

bedroom clock standards, she cleans the living room, dust hanging on the air from the coffee table that had never seen a cup of coffee.

She was waiting for someone.

A guest.

She didn’t know when, but she wanted to be surprised.

woah

“woah” (image via Flickr user Hiren Jakison)

He came in a wan-blue truck at 3:00, or 12:47, or 8:14. It didn’t matter, all the times were special with him. They sat on the porch ’til who knows when, the sun sheered by ribbons of clouds and ruffled fog until it was too dark to even see their own shadows.

He stayed ’til the crickets bleated and the leaves became dewy. Nocturnal animals saw them on the porch drinking tea, setting their cups on doily coasters. She seemed to have a rhythm in her foot to no particular beat.

He asked her to leave with him.

What about my home, she asked.

He told her they’d make a new home, where the grass was so healthy and full it could cut you, where the cows milked themselves into buckets.

She refused, but knew he’d return like clockwork. She refused to know the time of the day, and set each of her clocks 26 minutes ahead or behind. She always wanted to be surprised.

Dorian Maffei currently resides in the Bay Area. Her work has appeared in The Devilfish Review, The Gateway Review, and Oblong Magazine, among others. She is an editor at Reputation Books and is soon to become a literary agent. Follow her on Twitter at @DorianMaffei.